For centuries, being curvaceous has been celebrated almost all around the world. Women with thick thighs and a curvy body were once viewed as desirable and beautiful. However in the past 50 years or so the world has turned away from such a representation of women to an extraordinary world of thinness. The fashion industry especially the runway is now ruled by tall, thin and size-zero models.
However since the past 2-3 years things are slowly changing to how they used to be. With curves coming back in fashion there is a lot of buzz around Plus-Size models. While many countries like Europe and America are accepting of plus-size models to walk the ramp and represent the so called “non-sample size”. The question lies in whether India is ready for such a diverse range of shapes and sizes?
While on one hand, the conversation around plus-sized models in the fashion industry of India is becoming a norm by including them in runway shows and designer campaigns, on the other hand organizing separate shows especially for one category is seen as problematic as it only focuses on a particular size and does not encourage diversity. Whilst, people from the industry like Manjima Bhattacharjya – the author of Mannequin: Working Women in India’s Glamour Industry believes that norms around shapes and sizes are slowly changing and the industry is becoming more accepting and inclusive of a wider environment; there are a few designers who disagree with this view. For instance, in an interview with Falguni (Falguni and Shane Peacock) she suggested that plus-sized brides should cover themselves up from head to toe and even try losing some wight before their wedding. However not all designers hold this view, Sabyasachi’s campaign on instagram for the month of November for instance featured a plus-sized model- Varshita Thatavarthi who looked extremely beautiful and mesmerizing flaunting her curves. Apart from Varshita other models like Anjana Bapat, Neelakshi Singh and Tinder Badhesha to name a few are also working towards normalizing the trend around Plus-size models.
Though steps are being taken towards a plus-size market, the success has been rather slow. This non-inclusivity can majorly be attributed to the term “plus-sized models”. Such a nomenclature results in labeling/categorizing women with a particular body type and excluding them from the so called “norm”. Hence it is important to refer to all the women as models irrespective of their shapes and sizes and promote diversity.
Banerjee, R (2019) Inside India’s ‘Plus-Size’ Fashion Industry. Retrieved from here.
Burke, C (2019) Is “Plus Size” An Offensive Term? Here's Why Ashley Graham Isn't About It. Retrieved from here.
Sharma, T (2019) These Plus-Size Models Will Break The Unrealistic Beauty Standards You've Set For Yourself. Retrieved from here